S: MylesDay 2015
FC: MylesDay 2015
1: MylesDay 2015 | Held annually on the 1st April, MylesDay is a celebration of the life and work of Brian O'Nolan, better known by his noms de plume as Flann O'Brien and Myles na Gopaleen. MylesDay was first celebrated in 2011, the centenary year of the birth of Brian O'Nolan, and has been held every year since. It is always held on the 1st April, the day on which Brian O'Nolan died in 1966. MylesDay takes place in the Palace Bar, Fleet Street, Dublin - a setting that would not be unfamiliar to Brian O'Nolan himself.
2: Welcome to MylesDay 2015 Introduced by: John Clarke | Welcome to MylesDay 2015, the annual pilgrimage to recharge our Mylesian batteries. This is the fifth consecutive MylesDay when we have gathered on the 1st April to celebrate the Life & Works of what I heard described last year as the Unholy & Divided Trinity of Irish comedic writing, namely Brian O’Nolan, Flann O’Brien & Myles na Gopaleen. When we were planning this event, we were wondering how many people we’d be able to attract to a bar on a Wednesday afternoon. How little we should have worried! This is very appropriate, as Myles himself would have had no difficulty in finding an excuse to be in the Palace bar at 3:00 on a Wednesday afternoon – though he would probably be disgusted to find the place so full. I am assuming you are all here for the MylesDay event, and are not in fact public servants upholding ancient traditions. It’s good to see that despite benchmarking, the Celtic tiger, the end of the Celtic tiger, pension levies, the property tax, water charges, public service hiring freeze, health & safely, political correctness, that the old traditions of spending the better part of the working day in a boozer are being maintained. What more appropriate way could there be to celebrate the Life & Times of Myles. But please, celebrate MylesDay responsibly! It’s great to see so many familiar faces here. And as well as many of our MylesDay regulars, I’m delighted we have a number of new performers, which will allow us to try out some new things. We’ll have works old and new, one so new it is hot off the presses having just been printed in the Irishman’s Diary today. I won’t detain you for long, because we have a lot to get through this afternoon. There are more than two dozen pieces that have to be squeezed into the next 3 and a bit hours, so minute for minute this will be the Densest Mylesday ever. So to cut to the chase, and the reason we are all here today. The 1st April, April Fools Day, was chosen for MylesDay not only because it would appeal to the sense of fun that Brian O’Nolan had, but for the more relevant reason that it is the day that he died, 49 years ago today. As his brother Míchael describes it, dying on April Fool’s Day was “his final joke”. And we are gathered here today to carry on that joke. But today is not a day to be maudlin, at least, not ‘till later in the day. We are here today to keep his memory, his spirit, his philosophical musings, his sense of fun and the absurd, alive. So with that I ask you to raise your glasses, or a pint of plain if you have one, and drink a toast to the man himself. To Myles.
4: The New Intoxicating Liquor Bill Performed by: Val O'Donnell Source: Published in 'Cruiskeen Lawn' and republished in 'The Best of Myles' | Do not think, for one moment, that I have been overlooking this new Intoxicating Liquor Bill. The Bill proposes to tighten up the opening hours of licensed premises. One of its stated aims is to discourage casual drinking. I couldn’t agree more. The casual imbiber has become the scourge of the drinking class. Casual drinkers make no contribution to the social or intellectual dynamics of the public house, but regularly misappropriate the resident savant’s perch in his favourite watering hole. The problem has reached epidemic proportions in city centre pubs, where hoards of casual drinkers deter serious drinkers from visiting their customary haunts, for a quick drop of lunch. I am arranging to have an amendment tabled to the legislation, to address this serious public house issue. My proposal is to have the licensing hours altered so that public houses will be permitted to open only between the hours of two and five o’clock - in the morning. This means that if you are a drinking man, you’ll have to be in earnest about it. Picture the result. A rustle is heard in the warm dark bedroom. Two naked feet are lowered tenderly to the floor and a shaky hand starts foraging blindly for matches. Then there is a further sleepy noise as another person half-wakens and rolls round. ‘John! What’s the matter?’ ‘Don’t worry dear, I’m just going out for a pint.’ ‘But John! It’s half-past two.’ ‘Don’t care what time it is.’ ‘But it’s pouring rain. You’ll get your death of cold.’ ‘I’m telling you, I’m going out for a pint. Don’t try to make a ridiculous scene. All over Dublin thousands of men are getting up just now. I haven’t had a drink for 24 hours.’ ‘But John, there are four stouts in the scullery, beside the oat-meal bag.’ ‘Right. I’ll probably have them when I get back.’ ‘O, John.’ And then the theatrical snivelling and sobbing begins, as the piqued and perished pint-lover draws dressing gowns and coats over his shivering body, passes out gingerly to the stairs and closes the bedroom door. Then imagine the scene in the pub. Visibility is poor because a large quantity of poisonous fog has infiltrated the premises. Standing at the bar is a row of disheveled and shivering customers with pyjama in all its striped variety displayed beneath the layers of overcoat. Not a word is heard between the stifled yawns. The sullen clock ticks on until, finally, the curate-call, ‘Time, gentlemen, please, time for bed, gentlemen’, triggers a mass exodus into the gloom. And as you would expect, by five in the morning, the heavy rain of two-thirty has developed into a roaring downpour. But you manage to navigate your way home - with the aid of a compass, thoughtfully provided by your grateful local publican.
7: The Pharmacy Performed by: Val O'Donnell Source: Cruiskeen Lawn 6/1/53 | Did you know that the English word ‘pharmacy’ is derived from the Greek word pharmakon, and that pharmakon means POISON? One more question : How is the health? Now listen carefully. I am about to make a rather intimate disclosure about myself. I am nearly always sick. And yet I never deny myself the luxury of calling in those comic ruffians, the doctors. As a result, I possess a collection of prescribed medicines encased in bottles of different shapes and hues. Now my problem : I HAVE NO IDEA AT THIS STAGE WHAT ANY OF THESE BOTTLES IS FOR! Two of them contain a greenish precipitate. I am certain that one of these is for treating billousness and the other for rubbing into the scalp to encourage follicle growth. But which? Both are labeled THE MIXTURE. FOR USE AS DIRECTED. SHAKE THE BOTTLE WELL. There are two other continents of pharmaceutical mystery and frustration – I refer to THE TABLETS and THE DROPS. Here let me recount a recent domestic exchange. WIFE – What’s wrong with your eye? VALETUDINARIAN – I’m afraid that conjunctivitis is back again. But it’ll be all right – I put some of THE DROPS into it a while ago. -I hope you weren’t using THE DROPS that are on the bathroom table. -Yes. Why? -Don’t you remember, that’s THE DROPS that we got for the dog’s sore ear. But one is in the strangest of all countries with THE TABLETS. Beside my bed at home there is a table upon which reclines a constellation of round white boxes. They are all labeled THE TABLETS and contain white tablets of varying shape and size. I now realise, in hindsight, that I don’t know what any of the TABLETS is for, or which of them are deadly poisons, if consumed in conjunction with other medicine. But, unfortunately, I was not quite so - unknowledgable - the night before last. It was 3 am. The night was very cold and I couldn’t sleep. So, I switched on the light, and gazed at my array of TABLETS. Yes, I remembered. The box with the pencil mark on it. I distinctly remembered putting a private mark on the sleeping tablets. One as required, I read. But it is my custom to double or treble the dosage of anything prescribed by the rogues. So, I took three and began to read, waiting for the stuff to ‘work’. Yeah.The book I finished was boring. After a while I found myself reading an old newspaper. Then I began to notice tiny haircracks in the ceiling; I had never seen them before. I soon realised that wide-awake wasn’t the word for my condition. I was in the grip of an overdose of the most powerful stimulant known to man. So, I rose immediately and dressed. I switched on all the lights. I got myself a light meal consisting of bread and butter, a raw onion and a bottle of stout. I was tempted to go out and walk to Enniskerry and back, but my needle-sharp mind told me that some policeman would detain me if I displayed my magnificent spirits out of doors at that hour. So, do you know what I did to pass the time? I got out my typewriter and bashed out this article.
8: Rhapsody in Stephen's Green Performed by: Paul Maher Source: Published in Flann O'Brien Plays and Teleplay by Dalkey Archive Press, 2013 | (Buzzing of bees is heard) TRAMP: Away wid yez now! Away wid yez! Keep offa me now. (More buzzing, much nearer) TRAMP: Do yez hear me! Get away to hell ou’ a that! (He starts thrashing about with his arms. He starts incoherent drunken roaring) TRAMP: One sting from one of them lads and begob yeh could be screwed down in your coffin in two days. (He swipes at invisible bees but carefully preserving his bottle; he pauses to take a good swig.) TRAMP: The bee. Do you know what I’m going to tell yeh. The bee is one of the worst jobs out. Them lads has a bagful of stuff inside them and they do spend all their time lookin’ for some poor unfortunate omadaun like myself for to pump it into. Ah yes, a very bad job – the bee. I don’t fancy bees at all. (He swipes madly again and then has a good swig.) TRAMP: I’ll tell yez a good wan. I seen a man – a personal friend of me own – stung be a bee and him lying on his death-bed. A man that was given up be the clergy, the doctors, the nurses, and begob even be the parties that was to benefit under the will. That’s a quare one! Yer man is breathin’ his last gasp when the bee flies in and given him pfffff – a dart in the neck. And do you know what happens? (He pauses impressively and takes another long suck.) TRAMP: Do you know what happens? Now you won’t believe this, as sure as God you’ll tell me I’m a liar. (Again he pauses for effect and takes another drink.) TRAMP: I’ll tell you what happens. Your man sits up in bed and says he: Will one of youz hand me trousers there plee-ez. Ah? That’s a quare wan for yez. Would yeh believe that? (He drinks again, somewhat astonished by the anecdote himself.) TRAMP: An’ from that good day to this, yer man never looked back and never ever a day’s sickness in the bed. D’yeh undhersthand what I’m tellin’ yeh. D’yeh undhersthand me now? A very ferocious baste, the bee. A very contentious intimidatin’ exacerbatin’ animal, the bee. But a great man for suckin’ honey an’ workin’ away inside in the nest. Very hard-workin’ industrious men, the bees. (He looks round. There is a loud buzzing.) And d’yeh know what I’m going to tell yeh, there’s a bloody nest of the buggers around here somewhere. (He swipes.) Gou-athat! Gou-athat to hell from me, yez black an’ yella own-shucks! (He takes a long drink.) TRAMP: Begob d’yeh know what it is, yeh can’t bate d’oul bottle! I declare to me God I’d be a dead man only for this little drop o’ malt, because I have a very heavy cold on me and that’s the God’s truth. I’m not in me right health. What a man like me wants is family allowances, d’yeh know, family allowances and plenty of free insurances, d’yeh undhersthand me. (He is becoming more and more maudlin.) An’ house-buildin’ facilities for getting’ married, d’yeh know. An’ wan more cow wan more sow an’ wan more acre undher th’plough. D’yeh undhersthand me now? D’yeh undhersthand what I’m sayin’? Ah yes. Certaintly. Certaintly Certaintly.
11: The Sporting Life! Lord Santry & the Clonliffe Harriers Performed by: Dominic Branigan Source: Cruiskeen Lawn 1960 | The environs of Santry has distinction, charm and seclusion. It is moreover a high class residential district where I have my house. A few years ago it was subjected to a monstrous inundation of vulgarity, when a gang of skinny thullabawns, who call themselves the Clonliffe Harriers purported to open a stadium there. (Dict : “HARRIER – one who harries or pillages, a name for several species of Hawks”). Last Tuesday we carried a report of a “banquet” held to launch a campaign for the building there of a grandstand, seating 2400 persons and costing 12,000 pounds. If this stand is built (complete with money swallowing turnstiles of course), local residents may look forward to the periodic influx of fruit and ice cream peddlers, conmen, crooked bookies and catpurses. Assaults, robberies, and housebreakings will be the order of the day and a recurrent high tide of drunkenness is certain. Some vigorous local action should be taken to confine these harriers to their own localities and make them aware that gentlemen require neither their company nor their physical proximity. Still less do they crave the visitations of their bowsie following. I wish however to offer comment on a broader basis. This cult of the body has, around Dublin, risen to the status of a dementia agitans. It is pagan, injurious and evil, almost inevitably making addicts into morons for life. The ancient philosophers unanimously condemned it, and roundest denunciation of it may be found in the fragmentary Au-tol-i-cus Of Euripides. True, many of the primitive athletes such as gladiators or boxers wearing the caestus (a strap affair about the fist containing metal) were not regarded as human beings at all. I would scarcely concede that standing to certain athletes and ball players of to-day whom I have met and tried to converse with. Clearly they have been debauched by so called clubs, promoters, and trainers (who themselves train on whiskey). They have been deprived of their minds and the right to earn the living which would otherwise be theirs. | It is quite in order that those in school should be invited to take part in ball games and that sort of thing, since, physically they are in the formative state. It is preposterous however, that they should continue ball games after they leave school, and think nothing of getting into white knicks when they are already going bald. This grotesque perversion entails prolonging adolescence to 40 and over, remaining preoccupied with childish problems and “competitions” and thinking reluctantly of marriage when 55. It is fashionable nowadays to be concerned with the soundness of the race but this manic devotion to what is called sport is a form of genusuicide. It should be controlled, if not stopped, and ball games in the field sense, should be prohibited absolutely in the universities. I say this because of the disquieting fact that many university chaps who continue playing rugby take up the study of medicines. Fat good it will do a man with a serious disease to know that his physician is a first-class wing forward. The continuance of games after leaving school can cause serious moral deterioration. The murderous assaults occurring in the course of GAA games as reported weekly in the provincial press, proves this. It may be true that similar assaults take place in soccer, but soccer is not strictly a game, but a profession, and is to that extent defensible as the occupation of middle-aged and elderly men. Boxing could be defended for the same reason. I wish I could compile and print here a map of the “sports grounds” which exist in Dublin and district. I think readers would find it staggering, and demand to know why such open spaces should not be available as public parks to the Plain People. Why should soccer, rugby, and the GAA have enormous separate enclosures instead of combining to use one? Lansdowne Road would scarcely do because the lease prohibits playing games there on the Sabbath. Croke Park should therefore be expropriated by law and turned over to a council for use by all codes. I mentioned moral deterioration. Several decades ago, I invented and promoted an event which I called the Bray Walk. It was a great success, entailing not “sport” but wholesome exercise. Last year the Clonliffe Harriers, without a word to me, or even an invitation to attend, stole this idea of mine, and promoted an identical fixture. I can now look forward to the robbery of my orchards at Santry !!
12: Myles: I was passing through the streets the other day, saw him, pretended I hadn’t, but got a heavy clap on the shoulder. Willie: Ah-ha me bucko! And how’s tricks? Haven’t seen ya in all week. Myles: (Curtly) Hello. Willie: Oh I see, and what’s the long puss for? Myles: Nothing, except I don’t believe in having to wait 20 minutes to get a pint. That was my experience on the last occasion I frequented your establishment. Willie: Ah, gowathat, yer awways givin’ yap out of you. Myles: I’m not always doing anything of the sort. I meant every word I said. Willie: Sure, I couldn’t get it up anny quicker. I done me best. What do ya think I am? A slave? Myles: To be honest I don’t know what you are, beyond the fact that you live in those slums around Cornmarket Place. Willie: The what was that? Myles: Why does it take 20 minutes to draw a pint? Willie: I told you that and I double-told you that. Because there’s fur in the pipes. Myles: FUR? Willie: Certainly. Verdi Grease. Them pipes is made of rubber and hasn’t been cleaned out in 30 year. The Boss can’t afford anny of that expense. Myles: And you mean to say that the pint I got eventually came through that bacterial undergrowth? Willie: You got the same as the next man and there’s nothin’ wrong with it. Some tell me the pipes put a sort of nice gnaaa on the stuff. Myles: Listen to me, my good man. I seem to recall that a new Health Act was passed some years ago and thereafter we were assured we would have hygiene and cleanliness in the handling of food and drink. People handling these items were to wash themselves, wear clean clothing and the public would be protected from having to accept sausages in which bluebottles are embedded. I also understand that bartenders were to be discouraged from blowing their noses into the beer drawing machinery. What has become of all that, pray? Willie: Shure, my dear man, that’s all me eye and parsley. Eyewash. Myles: Is there any record of a single publican having been prosecuted for having an insanitary establishment? Willie: Naa. Myles: Are there any inspections? Has an inspector ever looked over your own place? Willie: Naa. Myles: Faith then, the Minister does not seem to be exerting himself. I can’t afford to buy drinks like the ones you mention in those sort of establishments. Willie: Shure, at one and five a pint it’s the cheapest drink in town bar porter, and we don’t sell that. Myles: I don’t mean your price. It’s the price of running every other day to the doctors I’m talking about. What do you think my craw is made of? Cast iron? The day before yesterday I was made to swallow a big glass of stuff like whitewash and had to go around all day with a poultice around me belly. Isn’t that a nice way to end up in Catholic Ireland? Willie: Ah shure we all get that now and again. Something you et. Luckit, the less you know the less you worry. Did you ever see our cellar? Myles: Thank God, no. Willie: I have to laugh. I was last down there a Thursday and left to clean up. D’ya know what? There’s rats down there that brays like donkeys. Ferocious big fat fellas with yella teeth. They do eat used corks because there’s stout in them – do you know? Myles: I wouldn’t say they are very fastidious animals in their choice of abode. They might be accidentally poisoned. Willie: Pysin? The Boss is against pysin. He thinks it might get into the hang sangwiches. But I’ll give you a good laugh. D’ya know what I done the other night in the cellar? Myles: No. Willie: I got a basin, see? Myles: You got a basin. Willie: O yaa. And I washed me feet in stout! Myles: WHAT? And what did you do with the stout afterwards? Willie: Well, for Pete’s sake. You wouldn’t expect me to throw it down the drain like dirty water. That sort of thing would be criminal. Myles: I feel my face has just turned green. I have to be off. Willie: Cheers then. And don’t forget to call in again soon! | De Potato Performed by: Louis O'Byrne & Frank Swords Source: Crusikeen Lawn 23/12/58
13: Horror of Quinn's pub's sewage-covered cellar on All-Ireland match day Robin Schiller Quinn's pub in Drumcondra experienced a massive sewage leak on the Sunday that Dublin and Donegal clashed in the semi-final of last year's football championship. The leak occurred a week before the pub was shut down for 48 hours by the HSE when inspectors found a dead rat, sewage and used toilet paper in the stockroom, indicating that it had not been adequately cleaned in the intervening days. | De Potato - Epilogue Performed by: Louis O'Byrne & Frank Swords Source: Irish Independent 14/01/15
14: Cruiskeen Lán Performed by: Brenda O'Riordan Source: Traditional | Let the farmer praise his grounds, let the huntsman praise his hounds, Let the shepherd praise his dewy scented lawn; But I, more wise than they, spend each happy night and day With my darlin' little cruiskeen lan, lan, lan Oh, my darlin' little cruiskeen lan. OH! Gra-ma-chree ma-cruiscin, slainte geal mavoorneen Gra-machree ma crúiscín lán lan lan, Oh! gramachree ma crúiscín lán Immortal and divine, great Bacchus, god of wine Create me by adoption your own son. In hopes that you'll comply, that my glass shall ne'er run dry Nor me darlin' little cruiskeen lan, lan, lan Me darlin' little cruiskeen lan. OH! Gra-ma-chree ma-cruiscin, slainte geal mavoorneen Gra-machree ma crúiscín lán lan lan, Oh! gramachree ma crúiscín lán And when grim death appears, In a few, but happy years, And says "Ah won't you come along with me"; I'll say, "Begone, you knave, "For King Bacchus gave me leave, "To fill another cruiskeen lan, lan, lan, "To fill another cruiskeen lan!" OH! Gra-ma-chree ma-cruiscin, slainte geal mavoorneen Gra-machree ma crúiscín lán lan lan, Oh! gramachree ma crúiscín lán Then fill your glasses high, Let's not part with lips a-dry, Though the lark now proclaims it is dawn; And since we can't remain, May we shortly meet again, To fill another cruiskeen lan, lan, lan, To fill another cruiskeen lan. OH! Gra-ma-chree ma-cruiscin, slainte geal mavoorneen Gra-machree ma crúiscín lán lan lan, Oh! gramachree ma crúiscín lán
16: Some people would have you believe that Whiskey is poison. So, come here till I tell ya the full story. Whiskey is med from grain, ya see, just like bread. It’s the grandest nourishment anny man could ask for. It loosens up th’ arteries, smoothes down the nairves, and gives the party takin’ it a luvly complexion. It does the heart good, if ya know what I mean. BUT another particular thing arrives in the fermentation of the grain. Know what THAT is, me friend? FUSYAL OIL! And that’s the boy that makes the difference. Ya see, when ya have an honest firm makin’ whiskey or stout, the amount of fusyal oil that comes natural is small, just enough to give a man the proper kick. But never forget this – FUSYAL OIL IS POISON! Now, that stuff that ya get from the doc with a needle – morphia – that’s poison too, but the dose ya get is very small and it does ya good. Do ya twig? But, if ya start givin yourself fusyal oil ad lib., ye’ll get fierce headaches and a ferocious thirst, next convulsions, and at the heel of the hunt, you’re lucky if ya don’t pass out and die. Isn’t that a nice state of affairs? Too much fusyal oil will drive a man mad. The brother knows a lot about this. Wan day he was visiting a distillery – somewhere in the Midlands. and next thing he sees a great big tanker pullin’ into the yard. It was like one of them big pethrol yokes, but there was no name on the side. What’s this, says the brother to wan of the distillery men – milk, for the firm’s canteen, is it? Notatall, says yer man, that tank is full of fusyal oil, so it is. Oh, and do ya want to kill the people altogether, asks the brother. Ah no, says this hop-off-me-thumb, but we like to wake the customers up. They don’t expect to get just slop, and we don’t sell them slop. Our stuff puts life in them. Keeps them awake. Fair enough, says the brother, but, if ya ask me, I think the place for your crowd is in Mountjoy. Wasn’t that quick of the Brother, now? Oh, the Brother won’t take guff from anny man, Christian or Jewman. Ya see, that fusyal oil can drive a man mad. Remember, there was some fierce brutalities in First World War. The Jairmins was very strong in some parts of the Front and now and again got themselves stuck into positions where the allies thought no power on earth could dislodge them. So what did the Generals do? They sent for a detachment of the Irish millytairy that was in the war, to try ta dislodge them. And who was the particular Irish crowd that was called up, as the last resort, wouldya think? (Pause) The Dubalin Fusyaleers of course, every man-jack of them full of whiskey that was 90% fusyal oil. But there’s a time and a place for everything, and I warn everybody to be extra-careful when it comes to havin’ a glass of malt whiskey in a strange public house. Never forget the foe. F.O. FUSYAL OIL. I need hardly remark that you have nothing at all to worry about here in the Palace Bar. And if you ever wonder why ya don’t see Willie Aherne about the place, on a day when ya call in. It’s because he does away in the distillery, seeing that the exact right amount of Fusyal oil is in the Palace Bar’s malt whiskey. And that’s the God’s - honest truth. | Tales of Malt Whiskey Performed by: Val O'Donnell Source: From 'O'Dea's Your Man' Episode 1 (Flann O'Brien Plays and Teleplays)
18: How Bloomsday Came To Be Performed by: Andrew Basquille Source: original writing by Andrew Basquille | Did you ever hear the story of how Bloomsday came to be ‘Twas in 1954 and certain gents went on the spree Paddy Kavanagh with John Ryan and a cousin of Joyce named Tom Tony Cronin, Flann O’Brien, that’s Brian O’Nualain when he’s at home In Sandycove they tried to climb the tower, were they mad? Then following no-one’s funeral off they went in horse drawn cabs Into Dublin without passing a pub along the way That’s because they entered every single one they met that day There is evidence on film, take a look and you will see How they had to make a stop at Sandymount to take a pee They relieved themselves discreetly, by the seawall they were hid And that’s as close as ever they got to doing what Stephen did In a betting shop in Irishtown they gathered round to hear The Gold Cup on the radio, the commentary was clear It was won, in case you’re wond’rin’, by a nag named Elpenor, I doubt they had a Throwaway tip like 50 years before Any chance finding Nighttown had long since disappeared They wound up in the Bailey, literati on their ear But look at what they started, if they could only see There goes everybody in their Bloomsday finery And that’s the story of how Bloomsday as we know it came to be ‘Twas in 1954 and certain gents went on the spree Paddy Kavanagh with John Ryan and a cousin of Joyce named Tom Tony Cronin, Flann O’Brien, that’s Brian O’Nualain when he’s at home
20: extract from The Third Policeman Performed by:Phelim Drew Source: The Third Policeman | I kept on walking, but walked more slowly. As I approached, the house seemed to change its appearance. At first, it did nothing to reconcile itself with the shape of an ordinary house but it became uncertain in outline like a thing glimpsed under ruffled water. Then it became clear again and I saw that it began to have some back to it, some small space for rooms behind the frontage. I gathered this from the fact that I seemed to see the front and the back of the ‘building’ simultaneously from my position approaching what should have been the side. As there was no side that I could see I thought the house must be triangular with its apex pointing towards me but when I was only fifteen yards away I saw a small window apparently facing me and I knew from that that there must be some side to it. Then I found myself almost in the shadow of the structure, dry-throated and timorous from wonder and anxiety. It seemed ordinary enough at close quarters except that it was very white and still. It was momentous and frightening; the whole morning and the whole world seemed to have no purpose at all save to frame it and give it some magnitude and position so that I could find it with my simple senses and pretend to myself that I understood it. A constabulary crest above the door told me it was a police station. I had never seen a police station like it. I cannot say why I did not stop to think or why my nervousness did not make me halt and sit down weakly by the roadside. Instead I walked straight up to the door and looked in. I saw, standing with his back to me, an enormous policeman. His back appearance was unusual. He was standing behind a little counter in a neat whitewashed day-room; his mouth was open and he was looking into a mirror which hung upon the wall. Again, I find it difficult to convey the precise reason why my eyes found his shape unprecedented and unfamiliar. He was very big and fat and the hair which strayed abundantly about the back of his bulging neck was a pale straw-colour; all that was striking but not unheard of. My glance ran over his great back, the thick arms and legs encased in the rough blue uniform. Ordinary enough as each part of him looked by itself, they all seemed to create together, by some undetectable discrepancy in association or proportion, a very disquieting impression of unnaturalness, amounting almost to what was horrible and monstrous. His hands were red, swollen and enormous and he appeared to have one of them half-way into his mouth as he gazed into the mirror. ‘It’s my teeth,’ I heard him say, abstractedly and half-aloud. His voice was heavy and slightly muffled, reminding me of a thick winter quilt. I must have made some sound at the door or possibly he had seen my reflection in the glass for he turned slowly round, shifting his stance with leisurely and heavy majesty, his fingers still working at his teeth; and as he turned I heard hum muttering to himself: ‘Nearly every sickness is from the teeth.’ His face gave me one more surprise. It was enormously fat, red and widespread, sitting squarely on the neck of his tunic with a clumsy weightiness that reminded me of a sack of flour. The lower half of it was hidden by a violent red moustache which shot out from his skin far into the air like the antennae of some unusual animal. His cheeks were red and chubby and his eyes were nearly invisible, hidden from above by the obstruction of his tufted brows and from below by the fat foldings of his skin. He came over ponderously to the inside of the counter and I advanced meekly from the door until we were face to face. ‘Is it about a bicycle?’ he asked.
23: Paddy's Trip To Hell (The Ominium Song) Performed by: Tony McGaley Source: written by Bill Watkins in 1966 for a production of The Third Policeman in Minneapolis | Have you heard of Brian O'Nolium Or Miles Na Goplaeenium Or even Flann O'Brienium Their like we'll see no more, The triumvirate of trinities Devoid of all divinities Split their atoms to infinities And left the sacred shore. Both Christian, Jew and Muslim In trying to solve the puzzleum Admits that it beffuddlesum And leaves it all at that They're as ignorant as clinkers Deaf, dumb and wearing blinkers When you ask these noble thinkers... 'What in a man's hat?' Ah now Paddy, do not fearium Perceptions can be queerium Through life's abject delirium You try to steer your course To Heaven's bright abodium The straight and narrow roadium Where you leave life's heavy loadium And join the cosmic force. Don't endeavor to be badium Or fool or play the cadium And listen, Paddy ladium The truth with you I'll share If you're fond of vice and sinium Strong whiskey, beer and ginium Your life's not worth a pinium You'll descend perdition's stair. Bereft of cataclesium Your soul, the Devils ceasium The Sword of Damaclesium Hangs from the roof of Hell Suspended like and icicle Above a stolen bicycle Where every sort of viceicle Has neither pump nor bell So recoil from all this follyum Be happy, wise and Jollyum Though the Pit of Hell may swollyum Stay way from wicked folk To the damned their sins have sent them... Et omnium potentum! Do your best to circumventum... And you'll live to tell the joke!
24: Pub Dialogue 1 - Dancin' Pumps Performed by: Val O'Donnell & Henry Mitchell Source: Published in 'Cruiskeen Lawn' and republished in 'The Best of Myles' | Scene : Interior of public house. Man 1 is at a bar in upstage area. Glass of whiskey or pint of stout on bar. He is reading a paper. Man 2 enters, with two bottles of stout and glass. He goes to join Man 1 at bar. Latter takes note of the arrival with curiosity but not too much enthusiasm . (Man 2 is one of those people others can tolerate for short periods at a time). Man 1 : And is it yourself? Man 2: Yes, its me all right. (Pours drink) Ogus kay key vill too? Man 1 : Math go lore, guth rev math agut. (Pause) Haven’t seen you around this good while. Man 2 : Well the way it is, the brother is back above in the digs. We’re all back. The bottom’s fallen out of the London job. (Pause) I’ll tell you a damn good wan. Sir Laurence Olivier says that neither meself or the brother will be anny good at the ballet dancing. Just because the pair of us is Roman Catholics, of course. And the brother a dead ringer for Stravinsky’s ‘Fire Bug’. All the crowd is home out of the London theatres and studios. Man 1 : Really? Man 2 : Oh, the brother kicked up a terrible barney in the digs the night he come home, after been charged twenty four bob be the Customs for his dancin’ pumps. What’s this says the Customs man? Them’s me pumps, says the brother. I’m a dancin’ artist. Is that so, says the custom’s man. Well you can pump out twenty four bob like a flash or I’ll impound your pumps and pump them down to the Chief Collector’s office in Dublin Castle. Man 1: So, he had to dance to the Custom's man’s tune in the heal of the hunt! Man 2 : But wait till you hear. The Custom’s man has another shot in the locker. What’s this in the bottle, says he. That’s bay rum for me hair, says the brother - I’m losin’ me hair. So am I says the Custom’s man, wait till I have a look at this inside in the office. So he comes out after a few minutes with the bottle half empty, ‘and no wonder you’re goin bald’, says he. ‘ Who wouldn’t be if that’s the treatment?’ The brother, as cute as a hawk, takes the half bottle back and changes the subject. (pause) Man 1 : So, he’s at a bit of a loose end, then, your brother. Man 2 : Oh, not at all. The brother’s a great man for not lettin the grass grow under his feet. Out every second day now practicin for the Liffey swim. Wasn’t he fourth in ‘52 and runnin’ away with it the next year, only for the cramp hittin’ him at Capel Street bridge. He does be out at Dalkey with a pal at the weekend practicin’ the swimin’. Very good for developin’ the lungs, the brother says, Dalkey Bay. Man 1: He must be pretty fit at that rate. Man 2: And that’s not the half of it. I’ll tell a good wan. Didn’t the pair of them pick up with a class of scientist the other week, that had come a cropper on the rocks. The brother treated him on the spot of course. A great man to operate from first principles, the brother. Sure he opened Charley in ‘54 when the doctors had givin’ him up. Anyway this science fella couldn’t thank him enough. Insisted on havin them up to the house and stuffin’ them with malt whiskey all night. And wait till I tell you...
27: Pub Dialogue 2 - Nolly May Tango Performed by: Louis O'Byrne & Peter Prior Source: Published in 'Cruiskeen Lawn' and republished in 'The Best of Myles' | Man 3 : Pray take note of our mutual friend with the cap beyond. Off for a quick one to the Corner House where they keep a slate, unless I’m very much mistaken. I’ve often observed your good self in conversation with the same, and I’ll bet you a shilling that he talks to you ad nauseum about his brother, because damn the thing else he can ever talk about to man or layman. Is he a personal friend by any chance? Man 4 : I wouldn’t exactly describe him as such. Man 3 : Well I’m glad to hear it, because if you would take a tip from me you’ll make it your business to be on the other side of the street accidentally on purpose when you observe him on the distant horizon. Because do you know what I’m going to tell you? He’s not the simple man he let’s on to be, I can tell you! He was observed down in a public house one night last week with a hop-off-me thumb from the county Wicklow, on a rogue’s errand, working on two softies that have a quarry on the south side. The pair of them being bested out of their property by the two fly boyos, with the kind assistance of General Whiskey and Major Porter. IOUs passing between them like a snowstorm. Make me your partner and you’ll get five pounds a week for life and here, sign this, thanks very much. Faith now I would play cagey-cannon while that gentleman is about, because he would take the shirt off your back and put a cheaper one in its place and you would notice sweet nothing. Himself and his brother. I’d not be surprised to hear that he has no brother at all! Man 4 : That’s a shocking thing to allege. Man 3 : Well, that’s my honest opinion, take it for what its worth. I passed smarter boyos than that through my fingers, they get away with very little with yours truly. I can smell them a mile off. ‘That letter you wrote to the papers about the rates was the best thing I read for a long time, could you lend me half a crown.’ This class of thing. O faith, many’s a time he tried it on. But I’m ready for him and his likes. Man 4 : He never asked me for money. Man 3 : Well just give him time, give him time. And when it comes you’ll find it will be a real knock, so you will. A five pound note if you please. ‘The mother was taken bad and had to be brought off to Jervis Street – you’ll have your money back on Thursday next by half-past two'. Nolly may tango is the motto. ‘I am unwilling to be touched,’ D’ ye follow? Man 4 : I think I understand your approach. Man 3 : And talking of hospitals. The good lady, is she? Man 4 : Yes, but it’s all right now, she is feeling grand . Man 3 : Was it you know? Man 4 : Yes, but it’s all right now, she’s felling grand. Back to herself again. Man 3 : Well do you know, I am very glad to hear it because these things can be very awkward, I’m led to believe. Very awkward. Yes indeed. (Pause) Would you join me in a small redbreast to help to keep the life in us? Man 4 : No thank you, I never drink after six. (He prepares to exit) Man 3 : And a wise rule too for those that have their health. Goodbye now and remember me to the good lady. Man 4 : (Exiting) I will indeed. ‘Bye.
28: Bores Performed by: Jim Butler Source: The Best of Myles | The Man Who Can Pack This monster watches you trying to stuff the contents of two wardrobes into a small attaché case. You succeed, of course, but you find you have forgotten to put in your golf clubs. You curse grimly, but your ‘friend’ is delighted. He knew this would happen. He approaches, offers consolation and advises you to go downstairs and take things easy while he ‘puts things right’. Some days later, when you unpack your things in Glengariff, you find that he has not only got your golf clubs in but has included also your bedroom carpet, the kit of a Gas Company man who had been working in your room, two ornamental vases, and a folding card-table. Everything in view, in fact, except your razor. You have to wire 7 pounds to Cork to get a new leather bag (made of cardboard) in order to get all this junk home. And offer outrageous bribes to the boots of a loan of his razor. The Man Who Soles His Own Shoes Quite innocently you complain about the quality of present-day footwear. You wryly exhibit a broken sole. ‘Must leave them in tomorrow,’ you say vaguely. The monster is flabbergasted at this passive attitude, has already forced you into a armchair, pulled your shoes off and vanished with them into the scullery. He is back in an incredibly short space of time and restored your property to you announcing that the shoes are now ‘as good as new’. You notice his own for the first time and instantly understand why his feet are deformed. You hobble home, apparently on stilts. Nailed to each shoe is an inch-thick slab of synthetic ‘leather’ made from Shellac, saw-dust and cement. Being much taller than usual, you nearly kill yourself getting into a bus. By the time you get home you have lost two pints of blood and the wound in your forehead looks as if it will turn septic. The Man Who Can Carve No matter if the dish be a solitary roast pigeon, the coat is taken off, two square yards of table cleared, several inoffensive diners compelled to leave the room to give the ruffian ‘a bit of freedom’. By some miracle everything carved by this person is transformed into scrag-ends, so that nobody gets anything that is eatable.
30: Lawn Mower Performed by: Jack Lynch Source: extract from The Dalkey Archive | In the low seaward wall there was a tiny gap which gave access to a rough downhill path towards the railway far below; there a footbridge led to a bathing place called White Rock. At this gap a man was standing, supporting himself somewhat with a hand on the wall. As Shaughnessy drew near he saw the man was spare, tall, clean-shaven, with sparse fairish hair combed sideways across an oversize head. - The poor bugger’s hurt, Hackett remarked. The man’s face was placid and urbane but contorted in a slight grimace. He was wearing sandals and his right foot in the region of the big toe was covered with fresh blood. They stopped. - Are you hurt, sir? Hackett asked The man politely examined each of them in turn. - I suppose I am, he replied. There are notices down there about the dangers of the sea. Usually there is far more danger on land. I bashed my right toe on a sharp little dagger of granite I didn’t see on that damned path. - Perhaps we could help, Shaughnessy said. We’d be happy to assist you down to the Colza Hotel in Dalkey. We could get you a chemist there or maybe a doctor. The man smiled slightly. - That’s good of you, he replied, but I’m my own doctor. Perhaps though you could give me a hand to get home? - Well, certainly, Shaughnessy said. - Do you live far, sir? Hackett asked. - Just up there, the man said, pointing to the towering trees. It’s a stiff climb with a cut foot. Shaughnessy had no idea that there was any house in the fastness pointed to, but almost opposite there was a tiny gate discernible in the rough railing bounding the road. - So long as you’re sure there is a house there, Hackett said brightly, we will be honoured to be of valuable succour. - The merit of the house is that hardly anybody except the postman knows it’s there, the other replied agreeable. They crossed the road, the two escorts lightly assisting at each elbow. Inside the gate a narrow but smooth enough pathway fastidiously picked its way upward through treetrunks and shrubs. - Might as well introduce myself, the invalid said. My name’s De Selby. Shaughnessy gave his, adding that everybody called him Mick. He noticed that Hackett styled himself Mr Hackett: it seemed an attitude of polite neutrality, perhaps condescension. - This part of the country, De Selby remarked, is surprisingly full of tinkers, gawns and gobshites. Are you gentlemen skilled in the Irish language? The non-sequitur rather took Shaughnessy aback, but not Hackett. - I know a great lot about it, sir, A beautiful tongue. - Well, the word mór means big. In front of my house – we’re near it now – there is a lawn surprisingly large considering the terrain. I thought I would combine mór and lawn as a name for the house. A hybrid, of course, but what matter? I found a looderamawn in Dalkey village by the name of Teague McGettigan. He’s the local cabman, handyman, and observer of the weather; there’s absolutely nothing he can’t do. I asked him to paint the name on the gate, and told him the words. Now wait untl you see the result. The house could now be glimpsed, a low villa of timber and brick. As they drew nearer De Selby’s lawn looked big enough but regrettable it was a sloping expanse of coarse, scruffy grass embroidered with flat weeds. And in black letters on the wooden gate was the title: LAWNMOWER. Shaughnessy and Hackett sniggered as De Selby sighed elaborately. - Well the dear knows I always felt that Teague was our domestic Leonardo, Hackett chuckled. I’m well acquainted with the poor bastard. They sidled gently inward. De Selby’s foot was now dirty as well as bloody.
33: A Little Poem Performed by: Racker Donnelly Source: Hair of the Dogma ('The Irish') | Let me now quote a little poem I scratched – sorry! – I wrote myself at least a thousand years ago. That would be, of course, before Jurtheim, the German pedant. Observe, I ask, the felicity, the freshness – above all, the humanity – of these following little verses. Sgíth mo chrob ón sgríbinn Ní dígainn mo glés géroll, Sgeithid mo phenn gulban-coalta Digh daolta do dub glégorm. Now is that not fine? See the old monk, weary, but good-humoured? He sighs and shakes his head, but writes on. Why? Listen again: Bruinnidh sruaim n-ecna nDé fhinn As mo láim degduinn desmais, Doirtidh a digh for duillinn Do dubh in chuilinn chnesgais. Well lads? Good or bad? See that berry? See how it glistens, holly berry of the green epidermis! By the gob you can’t deny it. I could write in those days, aye, and write about writing without being a bore, like Seamus. Here’s the last verse: Sínidh mo phenn beg braonach Tar aonach labor lígoll, Gan sgor fri selba segann Dian sgíth mo chrob ón sgríbunn. By Gor! Did Bernard Shaw himself put pen to paper with better effect ‘the best day he was in it’, as they say in Irish. Could, say, Frank Lemass of C.I.E. write as fine a poem as that? (If he could he’s a most affected man to refrain from writing poetry.) Could Hone attempt the task? Father Gandon, S.J.? Willy Dwyer? The manager of the M. and L. in Terenure? Faugh!!! Perhaps I’d better translate the poem for the benefit of limey visitors who are over here drinking the malt intended by Providence for our good selves. Here goes: My hand has a pain from writing, Streams of the wisdom of white God Not steady the sharp tool of my craft, From my fair-brown, fine hand sally It’s slender beak spews bright ink – On the page they splash their flood A beetle-dark shining draught. In ink of the green-skinned holly My little dribbly pen stretched Across the great white paper plain, Insatiable for splendid riches, That is why my hand has a pain. Anyone who thinks that isn’t excellent must be mad! I wrote the original in an age nearer to that of Horace than to this, yet it could have been written yesterday. Which, of course, is the test of true art. (Never let me hear you use a phrase like ‘modern art’.) It is indeed a very fine, engaging, handsome poem. See the humorous juxtaposition of gulban and daolta – the contrast between the bird-beak swallowing beetles and the pen-beak spewing beetles, black beetles like words on the page! Witty? Surrealist? I should think so! Would any reader who knows a grander person than my Excellency please communicate with the Editor of the Irish Times.
34: extract from The Third Policeman Performed by: Val O'Donnell & Jim Butler Source: from The Third Policeman, adapted by Val O'Donnell | Scene : Sgt Pluck At his desk in police station. He is cleaning his teeth as he examines a bicycle pump - perhaps fitting different connections into the end. A bicycle lamp (or two) also on table. The Man enters somewhat tentatively and approaches the Sgt. The Sgt. does not appear to notice him. Then, as he nears him, he suddenly speaks. Sgt. : Is it about a bicycle? Man : No. .... Sgt.: Then it is a right pancake. Holy suffering Senators. And tell me why have you come here at all if you can’t produce your name? Man : What is that form for? Sgt.: That is an interesting question. The first beginnings of wisdom is to ask questions but never to answer any. You get wisdom from asking and I from answering. Man : And the second rule? Sgt.: There are five in all. Always ask any questions that are to be asked and never answer any. Turn everything you hear to your own advantage. Always carry a repair outfit. Take left turns as much as possible, and never apply your front brake first. If you follow those rules you will save your soul and never get a fall on a slippy road. Man : I would be obliged if you would explain to me which of these rules covers the difficulty I have come here today to put before you. Sgt.: This is not today, it is yesterday. But which of the difficulties is it? Which is the crux rei ? Man : Sergeant, I came here to inform you officially about the theft of my American Gold watch. Sgt.: That is an astonishing statement. Why would anybody steal a watch when they can steal a bicycle? Whoever heard of a man riding a watch down the road or bringing a sack of turf up to his house on the crossbar of a watch? Man : I did not say the thief wanted my watch to ride it. Very likely he had a bicycle of his own and that is how he got away quietly in the middle of the night. Sgt.: Well, never in my puff did I hear of any man stealing anything but a bicycle when he was in his sane senses – except, of course, pumps and clips and lamps and the like of that. Surely you are not going to tell me at my time of life that the world is changing? Man : I am only telling you that my watch was stolen. Sgt.: Very well then, (still incredulous) we will have to institute a search. But, let me tell you, the trouble will only be beginning when we find it. Because when we find the watch we will have to start searching for the owner. Man : But I am the owner. Sgt.: (Laughing indulgently, shaking head) I know what you mean. But the law is an extremely intricate phenomenon. If you have no name you cannot own a watch, and the watch that has been stolen does not exist for you, and when it is found it will have to be restored to its rightful owner. If you have no name you possess nothing. You do not exist, and even your trousers are not on you, although they look as if they are from the where I am standing. Man : It had fifteen jewels! Sgt. : But on the other separate hand, you can do as you like and the law cannot touch you. (Serious) But on the first hand again, you might be charged with theft or common larceny if you were mistaken for somebody else, when wearing the watch. Man : For wearing my own watch? Sgt. : (Laughing, good humoured) But if we ever find the watch, I have a strong feeling there will be a bell and a pump on it. (Smiling) You know, there was a man in this room a fortnight ago telling me that he was at the loss of his mother, a lady of eighty-two. When I asked him for a description – just to fill up the blanks in the official form we get for half-nothing from the Stationery Office – he said that, when last seen, she had rust on her rims and that her back brakes were subject to jerks. (Preparing to write in his note book) Man : I really can’t ( Man at end of his tether holds hands up to his face.) Sgt.: Now, what was the make and the number on the frame and was there a lamp and a pump on it into the same bargain?
36: The Gaelic Feis Performed by: Jack Lynch Source: The Poor Mouth (Chapter 4) | GAELS! It delights my Gaelic heart to be here today speaking Gaelic with you at this Gaelic feis in the centre of the Gaeltacht. May I state that I’m a Gael. I’m Gaelic from the crown of my head to the BALLS of my feet. Gaelic front and back, above and below. Likewise, you are all truly Gaelic. We are all Gaelic Gaels of Gaelic lineage. He who is Gaelic, will be Gaelic evermore. I myself have spoken not a word except Gaelic since the day I was born – just like you – and every sentence I have uttered has been on the subject of Gaelic. If we’re truly Gaelic, we must constantly discuss the question of the Gaelic revival and the question of Gaelicism. There is no use in having Gaelic, if we converse in it on non-Gaelic topics. He who speaks Gaelic but fails to discuss the language question is not truly Gaelic in his heart; such conduct is of no benefit to Gaelicism because he only jeers at Gaelic and reviles the Gaels. There is nothing in this life so nice and so Gaelic as truly true Gaelic Gaels who speak in the true Gaelic Gaelic about the truly Gaelic language. I hereby declare this feis to be Gaelically open! Up the Gaels! Long live the Gaelic tongue! When this noble Gael sat down on his Gaelic backside, a great tumult and hand-clapping arose throughout the assembly.
39: Pub Dialogue 3 - Coffee in The Abbey Performed by: Val O'Donnell & Aidan Jordan Source: Published in 'Cruiskeen Lawn' and republished in 'The Best of Myles' | Man 3 : Do you ever go to the plays at all? Not the pictures now. The plays. The high-class stuff. Man 4 : I do an odd time. Man 3 : The brother went last summer with Mr Carse. An English pal. The brother says he’s the first Englishman he ever met that had his head on the right way. A great friend of Ireland too, married to a Cork girl, so the brother said. Man 4 : Indeed? Man 3 : The pair of them went to the Abbey Theatre. Took a very poor view, altogether. Never saw such a collection of people in his puff. Some of them in rags and the other lads walking around in claw-hammers coats. Man 4 : I see. Man 3 : There was some class of play going on about a fortune. There’s a hat of money there, and then there’s this fella’ comes back from America and there’s another lad hangin’ on to the dough, and then there’s a row about a girl – oh right mad stuff, you wouldn’t know which end is the sleeves. Man 4 : Really? Man 3 : (Warming to the story) And then d’ould fellow that nobody minded at all was the winner in the wind-up, thanks very much, delighted with himself and all for marrin’ the young one. A bit near the bone some of the stuff was, so the brother said. A very strict man on that class of thing, the brother. Man 4 : I understand perfectly. Man 3 : Of course, you know, half the lads that do be at that place do be writin’ dirty books in their spare time. All classes of smut, so the brother says. Saints and scholars how - are – ya! Man 4 : How are you indeed. Man 3 : But what took Mr Carse to the fair was the bar. What do you think they sell in the bar? Tell me that and tell me no more. Man 4 : Intoxicants, I presume. Man 3 : Not at all, man, coffee. COFFEE. Well look. You could brush Mr Carse offa’ your sleeve like a flea, so the brother says. Oh, a great man for his jar, Mr Carse. Always was. Of course, the brother will take his bottle of stout too, don’t you know? Man 4 : Stout is a nourishing beverage. Man 3 : Take his bottle of stout with any man. But Mr Carse’s face when he was told ‘Coffee’ was worth all the parsley in County Cork. The brother was highly amused. So, Mr Carse asks ‘why’? Do you know what they said. Man 4 : No, I can’t imagine. Man 3 : The Emergency. The EMERGENCY, if you don’t mind! Worried about threats to the supply of beer and spirits. Stocks at Emergency levels. Action has to be taken. Anyway the brother is to have a word with the Research Bureau people about it all. Well in with that crowd, the brother. Sure they do be often consultin’ the brother about their technical problems. Hard sums and all that class of stuff. Oh, he’ll have them workin’ on that problem soon enough. Just mark my words! Man 4 : I shall certainly follow any developments with interest.
40: Pub Dialogue 4 - That Crowd Performed by: Jim Butler & Louis O'Byrne Source: Published in 'Cruiskeen Lawn'/'The Best of Myles' | Man 1 : And where do you leave that crowd now? Man 2 : I don’t know. Man 1 : And your other men. Where do you leave them? Man 2 : Exactly. Man 1 : I seen that crowd and they’re no use to me nor you, nor annybody, annywhere. Do you folly me? Man 2 : I think I do alright. Man 1 : I never seen a greater crowd of hooks in me life so help me. (Short pause. Man 3 does nor respond) Sure I seen meself sittin’ down with them and their fathers in growlers going off to the Strawberry beds of a sunda on a pi-a-nic. Silk hats and no breakfast if you know what I mean. Man 2 : I think I do. Man 1 : I knew one of them fellas well. Ball-dancin’ three times a week with a married wumman. Man 2 : (Showing more interest) Is that a fact? Man 1 : I need hardy remark that the married wumman in question wasn’t the wumman he was married to. Do you get me point? Catholic Ireland, How Are Ya? Man 2 : How are you indeed! Man 1 : At wan time there was wan thing that put a stop to his gallup. Ball-dancin’ only once a week. Do you know why? Man 2 : Shortage of money, I suppose? Man 1 : MONEY? MONEY? What are you talking about. Sure that man went in nowhere bar on a free pass. Money? (Laughs.) I’ll tell you why. Man 2 : Why? Man 1 : He used to borry a monkey-suit off a waiter in the Bailey. With the result is he could go dancin’ only on the waiter’s half-day, a Thursda. D’see? Man 2 : I think I understand. Man 1 : In anny case he got to know four waiters out in the old Clarence Hotel and at the heel of the hunt could put his hand on a monkey-suit anny day of the week. A home-wrecker, that’s what that fella was. Sure didn’t two of the uncles finish up in the ‘gorman.
41: Man 2 : Really? Man 1 : Oh, certaintly. And you know, their fathers was no good to annybody either. Didn’t I have a certain bit of business to do with wan of them on a particular day and I called to the house. Well, a whole crowd of kids inside roarin’ and the wife in bed too weak to stand up from starvation. A skillet of cabbage soup was being got ready be the eldest girl for the ‘dinner’. This was shortly after Cosgrove set up the Free State. Man 2 : That was a fair while ago now. Man 1 : And where do you think My Nabs was? Man 2 : I can’t imagine. Man 1 : In a certain particular place in Drumcondra that I know and that you know, stuck in the back snug with two Free State Army privates and a wumman of a certain class. Man 2 : I see. Man 1 : Drinking malt good-o, the four of them trying to sell somebody else’s house in Clyde Road to some mad hop-off-me-thumb from the County Carlow. Country mug is invited to make a deposit of one hundred notes in the snug there and then as a guarantee of his good faith. And do you think the celebrations stopped when the pub closed? Man 2 : I doubt it. Man 1 : Not at all. All out doing the bonafide in a taxi, that never got paid in the heel of the hunt. Man 2 : Dreadful carry-on. all right. Man 1 : Another of that crowd come home with the milk wan morning in a monkey-suit to find the sticks of furniture in the gutter, lurried out be the Corporation because this fella that spent the night ball-dancin’ couldn’t possibly afford the magnificent sum of WAN POUND TWO SHILLIN’S for rates. But they left one bed in the house. And do you know why? Man 2 : No. Man 1 : Because the bed was holding the brother, home in the jigs from the British Army, that couldn’t be put out because he hadn’t a pair of trousers. Your man in the monkey-suit had them pawned on him. That’s why. Man 2 : Oh, disgraceful. Man 1 : I’m tellin’ you, that crowd is no use at all, and their fathers was no good. Mind that crowd now, I’m warnin’ you. Man 2 : I certainly will. (Gets up to go ) G’luck now. (Exits)
42: An Béal Bocht Performed by: Siún Ni Dhuinn Source: An Béal Bocht - Caibidil 4
44: The Man in Black Performed by: James O'Farrell Source: Published in 'Cruiskeen Lawn' and republished in 'The Best of Myles' | I happened to glance at my hands the other day and noticed they were turning yellow. Conclusion: I am growing old (though I often claim in my cups that I am not yet too old to dream). Further conclusion: I should set about writing my memoirs. Here is one little adventure that will give you an inkling of the dark happenings these would contain. Many years ago a Dublin friend asked me to spend an evening with him. Assuming the man was interested in philosophy and desirous of serious disputation, I consented. How wrong I was may be judged from the fact that my friend arrived in a taxi and whisked me away to a licensed premises in the vicinity of Lucan. Here I was induced to consume a double measure of intoxicating whiskey. However my friend would not hear of another drink in the same place, drawing my attention to a most sinister looking character who was drinking stout in the shadows some distance from us. This was a tall cadaverous person, dressed wholly in black, with a face of deathly grey. We left and drove many miles to the village of Stepaside, where more drink was ordered. But. Scarcely to the lip had it been applied when we both noticed -with feelings I dare not describe - the same tall sinister creature in black, lurking in a distant shadow and apparently drinking the same glass of stout. We finished our own drinks quickly and left at once, taking in this instance the Enniskerry road and entering a hostelry in the purlieus of that village. Here, more drinks were ordered but had hardly appeared on the counter when, to the horror of myself and friend, the sinister black-garbed stranger was discerned some distance away, still patiently dealing with his stout. We swallowed our drinks raw and hurried out. My friend was now thoroughly scared and insisted on making for the faraway hamlet of Celbridge. He reasoned that, while another drink was absolutely essential, it was equally essential to put as much distance as possible between ourselves and the ghoulish presence we had just left. Need I say what happened? We heaved a sigh of relief on noting that the public house we entered was completely deserted , but as our eyes became accustomed to the poor light we saw him again: he was standing in the gloom, a more terrible apparition than ever before, ever more menacing with each meeting. My friend had purchased a bottle of whiskey and was downing it in huge gulps. I saw at once that a crisis had been reached and that desperate action was called for! 'No matter where we go' I said 'in this world or the next, this being will be there unless we now assert a superior will and confound evil machinations that are afoot. I know not whence comes this apparition, but clearly of this world it is not. It is therefore my duty to confront and challenge him.’ My friend made some quaking gesture of remonstrance but apparently could not speak. As for me, my resolution was never more firm – it was me or this diabolical adversary. There could be no evading this clash of wills – only one of us could survive. I finished my drink with an assurance I was far from feeling and marched straight up to the presence. A nearer sight of him almost stopped my heart; here undoubtedly was no human but a spectral emanation from the tomb - the undead returned on some mission of inhuman vengeance. ‘I do not like the look of you’ I said, somewhat lamely I admit. ‘I don’t think so much of you either’ the thing replied – the voice was low, cracked, sepulchral. ‘I demand to know’ I said sternly ‘why you persist in following my friend and I everywhere we go.' ‘I cannot go home until you first go home’ the thing replied. There was an ominous undertone in this that almost paralysed me. ‘Wh_wh_ why not?’I managed to croak. ‘Because’ came the riposte, 'I am the f***ing taxi driver!' Out of such strange incidents is woven the pattern of what I am pleased to call my life.
46: The Brother's Nose (is Out of Order) Performed by: Aidan Jordan Source: Published in 'Cruiskeen Lawn' and republished in 'The Best of Myles' | I’ve a quare bit of news for you. The Brother’s nose is out of order. A fact. Some class of leak somewhere. Listen till I tell you about the way he’s fixed. The Brother starts suckin’ the wind in be the mouth. That’s ok, there’s no damper there, you see. But now he comes along and shuts the mouth (Demonstrating ). That leaves him with just the nose to work with, or he’s a dead man. Fair enough. So, he starts suckin’ in through the nose. AND THEN DO YOU KNOW WHAT? THE WIND GOES ASTRAY SOMEWHERE. Where-ever it goes it doesn’t go down below. Do you understand me? There’s some class of leak in the head somewhere. You see, there’s what they call a valve in there. Well, the Brother’s valve is banjaxed. The air does leak up into the head, then goes all up around the Brother’s brains. How would you like that? Of course, his only man is not to use the nose at all and keep workin’ on with the mouth all the time. But what does he do when he’s asleep, I ask you! When the mouth is closed and the nose working overtime! O begob, it’s no joke to have the nose valve misfirin’. And I’ll tell you another good one. The Brother is a very strict man for not treatin’ himself. He does have crowds of people comin’ up to the digs every night lookin’ for all classes of cures off him - maternity cases and the rest of it. But he won’t treat himself at all. Isn’t that funny. WON’T TREAT HIMSELF. So, anyway, he puts the hat on his head the other evening and takes a walk down to Charley’s. Now Charley is a man like himself – not a doctor of course – but a layman that understands first principles. Charley and the Brother do have consultations when one or other has a tough case on their hands, do you understand me? Well anyway the Brother is stuck inside Charley’s place for two hours. When he leaves do you think he has the nose valve back in runnin’ order? Not at all man. When he leaves he has your man, Charley, confined to bed with strict orders not to make any attempt to leave it! The Brother says he won’t be responsible if Charley stayed on his feet. What do you think of that now? Of course, Charley was always very delicate and a man that never minded himself. The Brother takes a very poor view of Charley’s kidneys. Between myself, yourself and Jack Mum, Charley is a bit given to the Glawsheen. In fact, Charleys little finger is more often in the air than anywhere else. Sure, wasn’t he in the hands of the doctors for years man. And that crowd had him nearly destroyed until someone put him onto the Brother. Oh, everyone knows that it’s the Brother that’s keepin’ Charley alive. Well, begob the Brother’ll have to look out for himself now with the nose valve out of gear and your man Charley on his hands into the bargain. Ah well, of course, at the latter end he’ll have to do a job on himself. HAVE TO Man; sure what else can he do? The landlady was telling me that he’s thinkin’ of openin’ himself any night now. Oh, you’ll find he’ll take the razor to the nose before you’re much older. Y’see, he’s a man that would understand valves, you know. He wouldn’t be long puttin’ it right if he could only get his hands at it. Begob, there’ll be blood in the bathroom anny night now. Sure, he opened Charley years ago and gave his kidneys a complete overhaul and that’s a game that none of your doctors would try their hand at. Sure, he had Charley in the bathroom for five hours that time. Nobody was let in, of course, but you could hear the water goin’ all the time and all classes of cut-throats been sharpened. You could hear the Brother workin’ at the strap. O, a great night’s work altogether. Well, I can tell you, we can expect blood in the bathroom again, anny night now. Oh, the Brother. Trust the brother to look after number one! You’ll find he’ll live longer than you or me. He's always on to the landlady about the diet.
47: The Brother can’t look at an egg. Can’t stand the sight of an egg at all. Rashers, ham, fish, anything you like to mention – he’ll eat them all and ask for more. But he can’t go the egg. Thanks very much all the same, but no eggs! The egg is barred. I do often hear him talking about the dangers of eggs. You can get all classes of disease from eggs, so the Brother says. The trouble is that the egg never dies. It’s full of all classes of microbes and once the egg is down below in your bag, they do start moving about, eating things, delighted with themselves. Oh, no trouble to them boys to start some class of an ulcer on the side of the bag. Just imagine it, all your men down there walking up and down your stomach, and maybe breeding whole families, chawing and drinking and feeding away to beat the band. Sure, it’s a wonder we’re not all in our graves man, with all them hens in the country! I do chance an odd one myself but I know one of these days I’ll be the a sorry man. | The Brother and the Egg Performed by: Aidan Jordan Source: Published in 'Cruiskeen Lawn'/'The Best of Myles'
48: Disturbance on Fleet Street Performed by: Ed O'Loughlan Source: Original writing by Ed O'Loughlin, published in The Irish Times 1st April 2015.
50: Mollycule Theory Performed by: Peter Prior Source: extract from The Third Policeman, adapted by Val O'Donnell | Did you ever discover or hear tell of the Atomic Theory? Everything is composed of small particles of itself that are flying around in concentric circles, arcs and segments and innumerable various other routes too numerous to mention collectively; never standing still or resting but spinning away and darting hither and thither and back again, all the time on the go. These diminutive gentlemen are called atoms. Do you follow me intelligently? Atomics is a very intricate theorem and can be worked out only by algebra. But you would want to take it by degrees because you might spend the whole night proving a bit of it with rulers and cosines and similar other instruments, and then at the wind-up not believe what you had proved at all. Do you happen to know what takes place when you strike a bar of iron with a good coal hammer, or with a blunt instrument? When the wallop falls, the atoms are bashed away down to the bottom of the bar and compressed and crowded there like eggs under a good clucker. After a while, in the course of time, they swim around and get back at last to where they were. But if you keep hitting the bar long enough and hard enough, they do not get a chance to do this and some of the atoms of the bar will go into the hammer and contriwise likewise. The gross and net result is that people who spend most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over the rocky roads of the parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycles – as a direct result of the interchanging of the atoms of each of them; and you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who are nearly half people and half bicycles. And you would be flabbergasted at the number of bicycles that are half-human, almost half man, half-partaking of humanity. And sometimes even worse. For instance I would reckon the postman to be seventy–one percent bicycle. A round of thirty–eight miles by bicycle every single day for forty years hail, rain or snowballs? There is little hope of him ever getting his number down below fifty again. The behaviour of a bicycle that has a high content of humanity, is very cunning and entirely remarkable. You never see them moving by themselves, but you meet them in the least accountable places unexpectedly. Did you never see a bicycle leaning against the dresser of a warm kitchen when it is pouring outside? Not very far from the fire? Near enough to the family to hear the conversation? Not a thousand miles from where they keep the eatables? They were never seen doing it; nobody ever caught them with a mouthful of steak. All I know is that the foods somehow disappears. Michael Gilhaney (pointing to someone in audience), is an example of a man that is nearly banjaxed from the principle of the Atomic theory. Would it astonish you to hear that he is at least half bicycle? Gilhaney does not look like a bicycle. He has no back-wheel on him and you cannot expect him to grow handlebars out of his neck. But I have seen him do more indescribable things than that. | When a man lets things go so far that he is half or more than half a bicycle, he spends a lot of time leaning on one elbow against walls or standing propped by one foot at kerbstones. Of course there are other things connected with ladies and ladies bicycles that .. (he becomes conscious of women in audience) I will mention to you separately some time. And there are other things I would rather not say too much about. (Short pause, then with renewed enthusiasm). A new lady teacher was here one time with a new bicycle. She was not very long here till Gilhaney went away into the lonely country on her female bicycle. But worse happened. Whatever way Gilhaney’s bicycle managed it, it left itself leaning at a place where the young teacher rushed out to go somewhere on her bicycle in a great hurry. Her bicycle was gone but here was Gilhaney’s leaning there conveniently, and trying to look very small and comfortable and attractive. Need I inform you what the result was, or what happened? Gilhaney had a day out with the lady’s bicycle and vice versa contrarily. And its quite clear that the lady in the case had a high number – thirty five or forty I would say, in spite of the newness of the bicycle. Can you appreciate the immorality of that?
51: Now, how would you know that a man has a lot of bicycle in him? Well, if a man’s number is over fifty you can tell it unmistakable from his walk. He will walk smartly always and never sit down. Because if he walks too slowly or stops in the middle of the road he will fall down in a heap and will have to be lifted and set in motion again by some extraneous party. And he will often lean against the wall with his elbow and stay like that all night in his kitchen, instead of going to bed. (He goes to collect his bicycle) (One final contribution before departing) I will tell you a secret. My great-grandfather was eighty-three when he died. For a year before his death - he was a horse! A horse in everything but extraneous externalities, because he had spent years of his life – far too many for safety - in the saddle. Usually he was lazy and quiet, but now and again he would go for a smart gallop clearing the hedges in great style. Now did you ever see a man on two legs in a gallop? His ould horse Dan was in a contrary way of thinking, and gave so much trouble coming into the house at night, to interfering with young girls during the day, and committing indictable offences, that they had to shoot him. But if you ask me it was me grandfather they shot. And it is the horse that is buried above in Clooncoola Churchyard.(Exits, pushing bicycle).
52: The Brother Gets Over Easter Performed by: Val O'Donnell & Henry Mitchell Source: Original writing by Henry Mitchell (2015) | The brother was in very bad form over the Easter. I’m very sorry to hear that. Was it the ceremonies ? Not at all, man. Au contraire, au contraire. The brother was always a great man for the Easter Ceremonies. First up to the bathroom above in the digs after the tea on a Holy Thursda, scrubbin the feet and putting on the fresh, darned socks in case he’d get the nod from the priest to come up to the altar for the washin o’ the feet. Oh yes, very fastidious the brother about being on the ready in case the call comes at the celebration o’ the Last Supper. Shure I often heard him remark to the Landlady as he headed out the door “You know not the day nor the hour.” A very religious man, the brother. It must have the inclement weather that affected your relative so adversely then? Not at all man. Shure doesn’t the brother love the weather – hail, rain or snow! Up outa the chair with him, on with the overcoat and the hat and out the hall door before you could say “There y’are.” Not a man to be knocked back be a few showers or a sheet o’ sleet, the brother. Shure the Landlady id tell ya herself. When them weather forecast ladies come on the telly the brother is gone like a bat outa hell before they get into their sing-song about “10 to 15 hectopascals” or their “cold front approaching from the West”. No, not a man to listen to that sorta drivel, the brother. “If I want to know about the weather”, says he,"I’ll take the train out to the married sister’s in Skerries and look at the birds in the sky and the cows in the fields. If it’s a feminine fashion show I’m after I’ll look at them weather wans on the telly with their body-hugging, all-black, belted silk dresses and their short-sleeved scarlet frocks.” A great man for knowin what’s what in the meteorological department, the brother. Would it be terribly inappropriate of me to enquire then as to the precise reasons for your brother’s state of mind during the Easter period? Spy Wednesda. Spy Wednesday? The very thing. The brother came home to the digs on the Wednsda evenin, gobbled down the kippers and straight up the stairs to the bedroom without as much as a I’ll lave ya and love ya to saint nor sinner. Not a word outa him but a face like the back of a bus. Yer man from the bank said he’d never seen the likes of it in all his days takin money in and handin money out over the counter in the Anglo-Irish. The Landlady was wondering whether to send for the doctor. “We’ll let the hare sit till tomorrow” says the trainee accountant. “Shure he’s bound to buck up for the Holy Thursda.” Divil a bit of it. Holy Thursda, Good Frida, Holy Saturda, Easter Sunda, not a word to man nor baste. The crowd above in the digs were at their wits end when down the stairs comes the brother on the Easter Monda. Tucked into the rashers and the sausages and the black pudding goodo. Not a morsel left on the plate. And three cups o’ tae lowered along with four slices o’ buttered bread. “I’m off to Fairyhouse for the racin” , says he “but not before I attend Pearse Street Garda Station to file my written complaint.” And off he headed. And did your brother furnish details of the complaint to his fellow occupants? Oh no; much too educated to the formalities of the law to do the likes o’ that, the brother, but didn’t the landlady come across a carbon copy of it above in the bottom right hand drawer of the brother’s chest o’ drawers. It appears that the brother slipped in to the Palace Bar on Spy Wednesda to wet his whistle after a long and arduous day in the office only to find the place in disarray and borderin on bedlam. That bucko Peter Prior and him riding Seamus, the barman, out the door at the rate o’ naughts. Roarin at the top of his voice “Hawld on there Seamus till I put on me bicycle clips.” Headin for Temple Bar and across Capel Street Bridge, into Smithfield . Destination: Ballinamore , Co. Leitrim. “That bucko”, says the brother, “doesn’t know his atoms from his molecules.” I can understand your brother’s disquietude but the incident per se hardly constituted a scene of bedlamic proportions?
53: Shure that wasn’t the half of it, man. That fly-be-night, Val O’Donnell, was over in the corner. Well oiled and him, with the cap and the white jacket on, letting a string o’ fecks outa him. “Feck him”, says he with his gob pointin' at the ceiling, “feck her and feck it”. And as the brother said in his statement to the Guards “the shyster picked up his anorak and swivelled on one leg like a Shakespearian actor and roared at the top of his voice I’ll lave ye all now in a final fanfare of fecks.” And worse, yer man – that cowboy - Louis O’ Byrne with the smig on him lowering the pints and showin off his monocle to each and every lady who displayed the slightest interest in that type o’ thing. The brother has that fella well under raps. Spots him out in Skerries when he visits the married sister for the dinner on a Sunda. Prancin around like a young fella tryin to engage young ladies in conversation about the local flora and fauna. The brother says it id answer that boyo better to be out on the golf course with his lovely, long-sufferin wife. The brother puts great store on married bliss. I can see it was a most raucous occasion and your relative was certainly entitled to be aggrieved, particularly on the day that was in it. Ya got it in one, me oul flower. Shure wasn’t that the central point the brother made in his statement. The core, as the brother referred to it. This sorta carry-on takin place within hearing distance of the Pro- Cathedral of a Spy Wednesda. A day when people should be left to assemble in their local hostelry and in the quietness and solitude of a pint o’ plain – folleed by a large powers – to reflect on the happenings of Spy Wednesda 33 Anno Domini and, as the brother puts it, come to terms with the small but hugely significant part played by Judas Iscariot in the history of the introduction of non-imbibement during the Holy Season o’ Lent. A far cry from the goings-on in the Palace Bar on the day in question. Do you think anything will come of your brother’s interaction with members of the Garda Siochana? Begob and there will something come of it. The brother has been led to believe that the Guards are folleein several definite lines of inquiry. A number of buckos helpin them with their inquiries. Four thousand hours of pains-taking detailed detective overtime and unsocial hours put into the case already. Files and tapes to beat the band. Of course, the brother is ahead o’ them. Has the head bucko in his sights. “No point in nabbin the kittens when ya can get yer claws into the top cat”, says the brother. On a strictly confidential basis I can tell ya here and now that the days o’ the head bucko who initiated and organised the event are numbered. The brother has copies of the emails, texts mobile phone movements connected to the mast in Kippure etcetera, etcetera gathered in alphabetical and chronological order. Yer man ‘ill be makin the short trip at State conveyance from the Courts to the Joy alright. Would it be unreasonable of me to enquire as to whether your relative has named the culprit? Ah here’s me bus. I have to be off. Good luck.
54: Why Worry? Performed by: Aidan Jordan Source: from Cruiskeen Lawn. Published on 19/12/1956 | The way I see it is, there’s only two reasons for worryin’. You worry if you’re goin’ to be successful or not successful. Now if you’re successful there is nothing to worry about but if you’re not successful there are only two things you have to to worry about. Your health is either good or you’re sick. Well, if your health is good, there is nothing to worry about but if you’re sick there are only two things to worry about. You’re going to get better or you’re goin’ to die. If you get better there is nothing to worry about. If you’re going to die there are only two things to worry about. You’re either goin’ to Heaven or you’re goin’ to Hell. If you’re goin’ to Heaven you have nothing to worry about. Now if you’re goin’ to Hell, you’ll be so busy shakin’ hands with old friends and relivin’ the past, that you won’t have time to worry at all. So, WHY WORRY!
56: The Plain People of Ireland Performed By: The Plain People of Ireland
58: Thanks to everyone involved with MylesDay 2015! First and foremost, there are all of the performers, who give so freely of their time (literally - not so much as a pot of tea!) and ability to make MylesDay such a success. So in order of appearance, a warm hand for Val O'Donnell, Paul Maher, Dominic Branigan, Louis O'Byrne, Frank Swords, Brenda O'Riordan, Phelim Drew, Andrey Basquille, Tony McGaley, Peter Prior, Henry Mitchell, Jim Butler, Jack Lynch, Racker Donnelly, Aidan Jordan, Siún Ni Dhuinn, James O'Farrell & Ed O'Loughlin. Then there is Will Aherne and all the staff of the Palace Bar. Thanks for putting up with us on what would normally have been a quiet Wednesday afternoon, and for the use of the back room. With all of its connections to Myles, it is a key ingredient in the MylesDay recipe. And also thanks to Will for providing the bottles of Whiskey as the prizes for the MylesDay draw. Thanks to everyone who send in the photographs which have made this book possible - Eric Luke, Ger O'Sullivan, Gerry Cooley, Marguerite O'Brien, Pat Crowley, Ronan Madden & Terry Greaves. And a special thanks to the Ro Mahon, who made a video recording of MylesDay. And of course a big hand to the Plain People of Ireland, all of the Mylesians & Flannoracs who came to the Palace Bar, participated in the entertainment and made MylesDay such an enjoyable way to while away the afternoon. We hope to see you all again at MylesDay 2016!